Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Entirely irrelevant

Reading the news that William Hague has called for a debate with David Miliband over the European Constitution, my eye was struck by how Miliband had described the question of whether or not it required a referendum.

Earlier, Mr Miliband dismissed calls for a public debate on the treaty - which replaces the defunct EU constitution - as "navel-gazing".

Now, I recently discovered, for the first time, where this rather peculiar phrase originates. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition the way in which one meditated (my information derives from about the 12th century, so isn't terribly reliable on modern practice) was to stare fixedly at one's own belly-button while contemplating the mysteries of the divine. Hence 'navel-gazing'. A mine of information, that's what I am.

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